Norway’s Arctic island Jan Mayen was shaken by an unusually strong earthquake during the night that measured 6.8 on the Richter scale. There were no reports of injuries, but state employees stationed there had a rude awakening.
“It was a bit of a shock,” Silje Wennesland told news bureau NTB. She’s among the 14 military personnel and four employees of the state meteorolog institute currently working on the otherwise uninhabited island located in the Norwegian Sea 460 kilometers east of Greenland.
The quake hit at 2:49am with an epicenter 125 kilometers northwest of the island. Wennesland reported that she and her colleagues woke up to the sound of furniture and their building rattling. Since the polar nights have set in with darkness for much of the day, they wouldn’t able to check for any exterior damage until mid-day.
“Fortunately no one was injured and everyone is fine, but we really marked the quake,” she said. “They’ve occurred before but this one was much stronger.” She estimated it lasted for around 30 seconds.
Seismologist Bettina Gøertz-Allmann told state broadcaster NRK that the quake was the strongest ever recorded in Norway. The last major quake on Jan Mayen occurred in August 2012 and measured 6.6 on the Richter scale.